Nobility, Honor, Valor, and God’s Grace: Medal of Honor Recipient David Bellavia

War, on the political level, has always been the product of human failure. The reasons may appear unique to each war, but those reasons are almost always rationalizations rooted in the lesser, the more base qualities of our humanity: greed, jealousy, anger, and, worst of all, pride.

The universal reality of war is that it is the young men and women who are asked to sacrifice and to serve, who are sent off to fight, to defend the nation, or to protect the innocent, or to achieve a greater good for those who are threatened by the unjust assaults of an enemy.

Photo: YouTube/U.S. Department of Energy

The video you will see here is a recording of a speech given by SSgt David Bellavia after he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Iraq during the Battle of Fallujah. There is nothing here about his own actions. His comments are about the others who were there, who fought beside him or in support of him. It is about those who died there and those who came home. His comments encompass the small facts as well as the larger ideals that become part of the fabric of memory and meaning for every combat veteran. This is what you must pay attention to. It is the epic tale of all warriors. His speech is intelligent, thoughtful, and even poetic. He is aware, even wise, in his remarks. His humility is evident and enhanced by his sense of humor.

Bellavia will cover a great deal of ground here – mentally, spiritually, and practically. He will name names and refer briefly to their value to him and to us. He will remark on the quality of each person’s character and their importance to the mission they found themselves engaged in at that difficult house-to-house, street-to-street fight in Fallujah, Iraq. You will see, through his words, the real, not the imagined, character of the men who fought with him there, men who lived the words “nobility, honor, and valor” in those terrible moments of battle. Some of them died there, some of them came home, all of them having conducted themselves nobly, honorably, and courageously, selflessly doing what they did for one another in real terms.

Photo: YouTube/U.S. Department of Energy

Bellavia is a realist as well as an idealist. He knows that all wars, including his war, the Iraq war, are often controversial. But he knows too that those “ideas” are moot to those who find themselves on the battlefield in the immediate realities of the horrors of war. As a keen observer, and one who is not simply focused on himself, he includes the other services who were engaged in that battle – the Marines, the Navy and the Air Forces who supported his unit – and speaks of the fact that our military is “one cohesive, dedicated force…that has been honed into a machine of lethal moving parts. If you want war with us, I promise you, some one else will raise your sons and daughters.”

I think that you will be as impressed by this speech as I was.

David Bellavia is an example of everything he talks about in this Medal of Honor acceptance speech. He is a man of nobility, honor and valor, but one who wears those words with humble sincerity. Hooah!

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